Rares Mosneanu '18, Neuroscience and Chemistry

Feeling Mixed about Graduation? Acknowledging It Can Boost Cognitive Performance

Ambivalence, the simultaneous experience of positive and negative emotions, is both uncomfortable and arousing. In the current study, we sought to examine the effects of ambivalence and emotion reporting on individual attention. Participants in our study were randomly assigned to watch a short film clip (ambivalent or univalent), after which we collected behavioral data and event-related potentials (ERPs) during the ANT task (measure of attention). Our results indicate that participants who report on their emotions after the ambivalent movie experience a boost of cognitive performance. This effect is coupled with longer response times, and can be traced to differences in brain waves.